My topic is the Determining the Impact of the Transcontinental Railroad on different groups of people who were directly affected by its construction. The students are to analyze and identify each group they are given by me by researching websites located on schoology and explaining whether or not the perspective of each would be positive or negative about the TCRR. They will also explain why. I believe this is a lot for a 7th grade student, but I would like to try it out and see what comes of it.
After lessons on the Homestead Act of of 1962 and the interaction among railroad builders, soldiers and homesteaders, the question for this online learning topic is whether or not the Transcontinental Railroad was a positive or negative force.
Students will have several links to leading to museum websites (still looking into those) to use in conjunction with classroom notes and readings to help them identify the perspectives involved with a decision on the advantages and disadvantages of the railroad. They will write their findings based on the guided information which I ask of them. That information will involve the following:
- From the perspective of the Native Americans, this was in part an ending to the life of which they had on the Great Plains.
- From the perspective of the settlers, the railroad was a lifeline to the Eastern and Western cities to send and receive goods.
- From the perspective of the Chinese railroad workers and their sacrifices and poor treatment during the building of and the aftermath of the railroad.
- From the perspective of the U.S. Government should identify the railroad as a way to join all of the United States and territories together showing a growing and strengthening empire.
The student will gather their information and write a paragraph for each perspective and ultimately make a decision as to whether or not the Transcontinental Railroad was a positive or negative force in the U.S. based on which perspective they are using to determine their answer.
The format for this project will be hybrid. Since we have already started taking in the information in my classes and discussing it, the one assignment they will perform will be through schoology and presenting their findings and completed work to me through google docs. I am conducting this project with one class only to see how it works. I predict that this will take one to two class periods to get a final product. (We are working on writing skills in class also, and I would like to have them use their four-square writing organization to be able to clearly present their opinions on the question given.
This module will be created for my 7th grade U.S. History students.
Common misconceptions about my topic depends on the perspective that is taken. Most people when presented with the information about the Transcontinental Railroad construction see it as a positive endeavor that helped the U.S. grow economically and physically. It is expressed to have been a technological advance that helped the U.S. settle in areas that were ultimately “cut-off” from the civilized eastern states. The railroad made a connection that brought prosperity to the U.S. Often when the topic is explained, there is a downplaying of the effect that the railroad and “progress” had on the Native Americans living in the Great Plains region. I am hoping that some of the students pick up on this and share the information in their opinions.
A seventh grade learner typically struggles with expressing pros and cons of the railroad showing a clear understanding from both perspectives. Developmentally, not all 12 and 13 year olds have the ability to look at something that seems positive and find a negative as well. This is partly because, unless they are looking for the information specifically, Native American perspectives are not exposed as part of the railroad completion. However, if directed to specifically look for that information, the students will be able to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and how something positive to one can be negative to another.